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Israelis Tired of Teachers Preaching Politics

Survey finds 68% against politicized teachers like Adam Verete; survey chairman equivocates 'settler brainwashing.'
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 5/19/2014, 8:33 AM

Adam Verete feted in Tel Aviv
Adam Verete feted in Tel Aviv
Flash 90

A new survey has investigated public opinions about teachers pushing political agendas, following the case earlier this year of teacher Adam Verete, who called the IDF "immoral," and claimed "Israel belongs to the Arabs, and the Jews have no business here."

Verete was let off with a warning by the ORT educational system, after student Sapir Sabah complained to the Education Ministry about her teacher's virulent anti-Zionist teaching and abuse by the principal on the issue at the Kiryat Tivon high school near Haifa she attended.

The new survey, conducted by the Shiluv Institute on the initiative of the Kibbutzim Seminar and the Tel Aviv Municipality, is to be presented Monday morning at a Tel Aviv conference on advanced education attended by over 1,000 educators as well as Education Minister Shai Piron (Yesh Atid), reports Walla!.

While 58% of respondents supported allowing teachers to state their political positions in open class discussions, 68% complained that the level of political involvement among educators is too high.

The survey further found that those supporting politicized teaching tended to hail from the greater Tel Aviv coastal region, while those opposing tended to be from the Jerusalem area. It also claimed that a larger portion of those in favor possessed academic education, with those against containing more people with high school level educations.

Gender was another factor examined in the survey; 72% of men supported reducing political statements in the class, as opposed to 64% of women. Opposition to political statements also was found to increase with age, as older respondents were more against such statements.

"Politicized teaching makes us less barbaric"

Prof. Nimrod Aloni, Chairman of the Advanced Education Institute in the Kibbutzim Seminar College, and chairman of the conference announcing the results, said "there's a difference between a political discussion and partisan preaching."

"Political education gives intellectual tools and ability to develop autonomous thoughts among the students, and that is done through exercising the muscles of democracy," added Aloni. "The more it is practiced, also through teachers in the class, we become less barbaric."

It is worth noting that in the Verete case, student Sabah complained that Verete belittled her in class for daring to oppose his extreme anti-Zionist statements.

Speaking about Verete, Aloni opined "he should have said 'in my opinion social justice is the most important and therefore I think we should stop controlling the territories.'"

The professor then equivocated between Verete's saying the Jews "have no business here" and teachers in "the territories," namely Judea and Samaria, educating their students about the ancient link between the Jewish people and the land of Israel.

"After all, the religious do it daily, in the territories they tell students 'the land is only ours,'" stated Aloni.

Aloni went on to lump hareidim with those in the "territories," saying "in hareidi streams or in the territories you can brainwash according to partisan faith, but if you do that in state education you'll absorb fire. There's clear discrimination here."